COLUMBUS, Ohio – A series of day camps will be offered across Ohio to teach school-age children awareness of farm hazards and how to stay safe on the farm. The camps, which are sponsored by Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, are designed to offer real-world experience to show youth the importance of farm safety.
While farm safety is important to practice year round, spring marks the kickoff of the Ohio Farm Safety Day Camp season, said Kathy Mann, an OSU Extension program coordinator in agricultural safety and health. Each year, some 2,000 youths statewide learn how to protect themselves from rural hazards and farm dangers that can occur on or near farms, she said.
“These camps teach youth about the hazards on the farm through educational sessions that focus on rural safety,” Mann said. “The issue is very important for Ohio farmers, considering that statewide, 33 youths under the age of 20 were involved in farm-related fatalities from 2001 to 2010.”
The camps will cover issues such as why there are rules on the farm, how quickly equipment and livestock react, and what to do in emergency situations, she said.
Special emphasis will be placed on teaching all-terrain vehicle (ATV) safety, Mann said. The camps will teach children the national ATV safety message of “Ride Right”: ride the right size ATV, wear the right gear, and on the right terrain.
This is significant, considering Ohio now ranks 13th nationwide in ATV-related fatalities, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission annual report.
“Through this specialized effort, the program sponsors believe that this ranking can be reduced,” Mann said.
The day camps are free, with some being open to the public while others are offered to school districts for school trips, Mann said.
The camps are as follows:
Morrow County: May 11 at the Morrow County Fairgrounds. The camp is open to school groups only. Contact Becky Barker, an OSU Extension educator, at 419-947-1070.
Fulton County: May 11 at 4-H Camp Palmer. The camp is open to school groups only. Contact Bill Goodson, camp director, at 419-237-2247.
Auglaize County: May 17 at the Four Seasons Recreation Complex and Park. The camp is open to school groups only. Contact Don and Lois Baumer, Farm Bureau volunteers, at 419-628-3420.
Muskingum County: June 8 at the Muskingum County Fairgrounds. The camp is open to the public for students in grades 4-6. Contact the Muskingum Soil and Water Conservation District at 740- 454-2767.
Ross County: In August, with the date and location still to be determined. This camp will be open to the community, with ages still to be determined. Contact Kathy Mann, 614-292-0622, for more information.
Monroe County: To be held at Powhatan Elementary School, with the date still to be determined. The camp will be open to school groups only. Contact Bruce Zimmer, an OSU Extension educator, at 740-472-0810 for more information.